Globalization is a major force driving the demand for international higher education. Organizations are seeking potential employees who possess the ability to interact globally, and University faculty is emphasizing the importance of international experience. Still, there are both advantages and disadvantages associated with studies abroad. This objective of this research is to identify and understand the key reasons why students study abroad. Findings from this study may provide helpful direction for developing future international programs, and explore partnerships between Universities in different countries that best fits student expectation and demands. Specifically, this report answers the following questions; “What are the biggest barriers for students towards studying abroad?” “What are the advantages of international higher education?”, and “How should the future international higher education programs be designed?”.
In order to answer these questions, a mixed-method research approach was taken. This includes a review of existing academic literature and databases, individual in-depth interviews with relevant University faculty in the U.S., Sweden and Italy, followed by survey research. This paper presents the analysis and findings for data collected in the U.S only.
The research will help add new knowledge, and provide useful direction for the design of educational curriculum that expands both the reach and efficacy of cross-cultural, transnational higher education in the U.S. At present, the biggest barriers towards students studying abroad seem to be monetary issues and having to leave friends and family. However, one of the gains for students choosing to study abroad can be a competitive advantage in the labor market. Findings from the research show that most students are valuing the practical experience just as high as the academic content of international education. Students also seem to think that the time spent on academia and practical experience, such as field trips and case studies, should be divided thereafter. This indicates that if universities want to attract more international students, the future design of international higher education should, besides having a good academic standing, take a more practical approach in order to better fit student demand. Universities should also further develop classes with strong international features to those who do not wish to study abroad in the traditional sense.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/meryl-rosenblatt/2/